Nitrogen: A Concern As Colossal As Carbon?

At ZP we like to think we are at the forefront of science, developing the next generation of sensors to solve world issues. If that wasn't true before it sure is now. A recent article published by New Scientist suggested the world needs to adjust its focus from Carbon being the only issue to it being one of a series [May 2021]. The article titled "Nitrogen Emergency" looked at five main ways it is harming our planet, of which the three most important to our project are dead zones, soil acidification, and ozone depletion:

  1. Dead Zones - The most commonly know issue, occurs when excess nitrogen enters rivers and seas from farming land through surface run-off and transportation to the water table or aquifers. This leads to a rapid growth in algae which consume the remaining oxygen depriving other aquatic life and ultimately leading to "Dead Zones".
  2. Soil Acidification - Excess nitrate removes other key nutrients from soil such as calcium and magnesium which lead to the soil becoming more acidic, preventing plants from taking in critical nutrients. 
  3. Ozone Depletion - Excess nitrate is converted into into a gas called nitrous oxide by bacteria. The gas in then transported to high altitudes reacting with UV light and is depleting our ozone layer.   

This really emphasises the the importance of our work and the necessity for the agriculture industry to have better control over the use of Nitrates. As an additional point our project also aligns with many of the UN's Global Goals which contribute to a sustainable future. 

If you are interested in our work or want to test out our sensors please get in contact.  Currently we are operating several field test up and down the UK with very promising results. 

Zaleski, A. (2021). Nitrogen Emergency. New Scientist. 3334, p42-45.